Uninstall should give the option to remove profile data

RESOLVED DUPLICATE of bug 398434

Status

()

Firefox
Installer
--
enhancement
RESOLVED DUPLICATE of bug 398434
13 years ago
9 years ago

People

(Reporter: thinksimilar, Unassigned)

Tracking

({privacy})

unspecified
privacy
Points:
---
Bug Flags:
blocking-aviary1.0 -
blocking-aviary1.0 -
blocking-aviary1.5 -

Firefox Tracking Flags

(Not tracked)

Details

(Reporter)

Description

13 years ago
User-Agent:       
Build Identifier: Firefox 0.8

When uninstalling Firefox, preferences and previously-downloaded skins and components are still 
saved, even after selecting yes to "Are you sure you want to completely remove Mozilla Firefox (.8) 
and all of its components?" and "Not all files were uninstalled from the installation directory: 
C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\ Do you want to completely delete this directory?"

Reproducible: Always
Steps to Reproduce:
1. Install Firefox 0.8, add new skins and change various user preferences.
2. Uninstall Firefox, selecting "yes" when asked if one wants to completely remove everything.
3. After uninstalling, completely remove /Documents and Settings/User/Application Data/Mozilla 
and /Program Files/[Firefox Directory]
4. Restart
5. Reinstall Firefox in either the same directory as before OR a new one
6. Run Firefox
Actual Results:  
Found old skins and preferences still present.

Expected Results:  
Removed all saved preferences and skins, giving me a fresh installation.

Comment 1

13 years ago
That information is stored in your profile, not in the Firefox install directory.

If you don't want that stuff with a fresh install, start a new profile.
(Reporter)

Comment 2

13 years ago
Shouldn't there at least be an uninstaller option to remove such information for
people who either want a clean wipe of all of that info (since the text of the
uninstaller implies that it's removing EVERTHING) or people who, Allah forbid,
don't plan to use the application again and want every trace of it gone?

(In reply to comment #1)
> That information is stored in your profile, not in the Firefox install directory.
> 
> If you don't want that stuff with a fresh install, start a new profile.

Comment 3

13 years ago
Re-summarizing per comment 2.
Confirming for developer review.
Severity: major → enhancement
Status: UNCONFIRMED → NEW
Ever confirmed: true
Summary: Uninstalling does not remove preferences or skins → Uninstall should give the option to remove profile data

Comment 4

13 years ago
I believe that, as an issue of honesty and good PR on an individual-user 
basis, the uninstaller should ask the user whether they want to delete the 
profile (probably briefly explaining what it contains). Leaving it behind 
takes up HD space, and confuses/scares/PO's the heck out of people who try and 
fail to fix profile-based bugs by uninstall-reinstall.
If the user uninstalls to delete his personal data, it's a privacy issue.
Keywords: privacy
OS: Windows XP → All
Hardware: PC → All

Comment 6

13 years ago
Uninstaller should also remove old Firefox <0.8 profile directory /Documents and
Settings/User/Application Data/phoenix as if I remember correctly 0.9.x
installer doesn't remove old Phoenix profiles after copying.


Comment 7

13 years ago
I believe this should block. The reason for this is, a very large majority of
Firefox issues boil down to "uninstall, delete your profile, and start afresh."
However, deleting your profile is a very scary process; you have to go into
areas of your hard drive that Windows usually keeps well hidden from you, often
using %code-y looking variables%, and then manually delete something. This
scares base users stiff.

It would be an ENORMOUS help to those of us who will be providing technical
support for the hoarde of new users we expect at 1.0 if this process could be
simplified and de-scarified by rendering it down to a checkbox in the uninstall
dialogue. I would go as far as to say it would drastically reduce the number of
users who will decide "Firefox is buggy, back to IE" the first time something
goes wrong. 
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0+

Comment 8

13 years ago
I believe this should block. The reason for this is, a very large majority of
Firefox issues boil down to "uninstall, delete your profile, and start afresh."
However, deleting your profile is a very scary process; you have to go into
areas of your hard drive that Windows usually keeps well hidden from you, often
using %code-y looking variables%, and then manually delete something. This
scares base users stiff.

It would be an ENORMOUS help to those of us who will be providing technical
support for the hoarde of new users we expect at 1.0 if this process could be
simplified and de-scarified by rendering it down to a checkbox in the uninstall
dialogue. I would go as far as to say it would drastically reduce the number of
users who will decide "Firefox is buggy, back to IE" the first time something
goes wrong. 
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0?

Comment 9

13 years ago
Gah, sorry for the bugspam, had a rollicking Bugzilla error AND accidentally +ed
instead of ?ing.
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0+

Comment 10

13 years ago
I fully support blocking flag.
It's common sense that any application cleans after itself. Moreover, Firefox is
an application that requireas a "clean start" from time to time (sad fact but a
fact) and just about everyone will assume that it can be done by
uninstall/reinstall. Another fact which you might not like (you might want users
to know about %appdata%), but still a fact.

Removal of profile manager shortcut from installation makes this bug much more
importnat, since right now, there is completely no way to create a new profile
using any UI - hell, there is no indication that profiles exist at all.

Doesn't seem to be much work either, by the way.

Comment 11

13 years ago
we have always errored on the side of not removing data in cases where the user
might not understand the impact of checking a "remove your user profile?" check
box.   I'd think we would need to make this kind of change in a beta release
where we could get testing and feedback.  An independent utility could be built
that would find and destroy firefox profiles and that program could eventually
be integrated into the installer. some of the old seamonkey profile clean up
code might be a place to start.  any volenteers?
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0?
Flags: blocking-aviary1.0-
Keywords: helpwanted

Comment 12

13 years ago
target milestone?
(In reply to comment #12)
> target milestone?

Target milestone is set when a developer decides he's going to fix it, assigns
the bug to himself (marks it ASSIGNED), and then sets it.  Ben hasn't marked
this ASSIGNED yet, so the target milestone isn't yet set.

Please don't spam.

Comment 14

13 years ago
I don't think the person was asking "what target milestone has been set?"

Blind Freddy can see that it's not set yet.

I think that they were asking "What does Ben (or his delegate) have in mind for
this bug?  Will it be assigned soon because it will be fixed in the next
release, or will it sit unassigned for longer 'cause it's not a priority?".

I didn't find this question to be SPAM.   I signed up to this bug because I'm
interested in what other people are interested in it as well.   If someone else
is wondering what Ben's priority for this bug is, that's interesting information
for me too ... it back's up my nagging feeling of "is this one going to be
assigned?".

Comment 15

13 years ago
For reference, here is a semi-related (non-dup) bug 264209 - "Installer should
provide options if an old profile is found". 

Updated

12 years ago
Blocks: 283676

Updated

12 years ago
No longer blocks: 283676

Updated

12 years ago
Flags: blocking-aviary1.1?
Flags: blocking-aviary1.1? → blocking-aviary1.1-

Comment 16

12 years ago
I recently installed a nightly trunk to see what is coming soon in the next
versions (Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.8b2)
Gecko/20050516 Firefox/1.0+).  This replaced the general 1.0.3 version I was
using before.  I wanted to uninstall the nightly trunk and revert to official
1.0.4 when I noticed it was released.

Now whenever I load older versions of firefox, i get an about:blank browser
screen and cannot use the browser in any way.  I feel this is related to the
above bug.

Comment 17

12 years ago
To stick with existing behavior, this field should probably default to
unchecked. This is due to the fact that many users glaze over any options when
(un)installing software, and it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to
dataloss.

A. The simplest form of this checkbox would be: 
"Uninstall profile [ ]"

However, I believe that the "profile" is an ambiguous term for many users and
needs to be explained. 

B. Something like this would be better:
"Remove profile settings (including bookmarks, themes, and extensions) [ ]"

C. Another option is to use a simple phrase on the checkbox, but have a small
paragraph below that checkbox explaining what a profile is and when it
should/n't be removed. Unfortunately, statements like this are usually ignored
by users and generally clutter the UI more than anything else.

Comment 18

12 years ago
(In reply to comment #17)

> B. Something like this would be better:
> "Remove profile settings (including bookmarks, themes, and extensions) [ ]"


How about:
"Remove:
bookmarks[ ]
themes[ ]
extensions[ ]"
*** Bug 301526 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Updated

12 years ago
Assignee: bugs → nobody
QA Contact: bugzilla → installer

Comment 20

12 years ago
(In reply to comment #18)
> How about:
> "Remove:
> bookmarks[ ]
> themes[ ]
> extensions[ ]"

Right.  And don't forget about passwords and other user data.  What about
prefs.js and user.js?  

You have to target the deletion or you will have an even bigger problem.  You
can't just go removing the whole profile, including bookmarks, or you will have
a repeat of the bookmarks debacle, only much worse.

Also, don't forget that this could delete user files, possibly leading to
catastrophic data loss.  See bug 302087.  How about combining this fix with bug
278230 (which is about Profile Manager deleting user files, and which should be
reopened)?  If you carefully target the deletions, this will automatically
protect users.

This bug fix would solve an enormous number of user support problems.  It's been
open 1 1/2 years.  I don't understand why it's not blocking.

Updated

12 years ago
Flags: blocking-aviary2.0?

Updated

12 years ago
Flags: blocking-aviary2? → blocking-aviary2+

Comment 21

12 years ago
Flock does this...

Comment 22

12 years ago
> You have to target the deletion or you will have an even bigger problem.  You
> can't just go removing the whole profile, including bookmarks, or you willhave
> a repeat of the bookmarks debacle, only much worse.

I think that the take all or nothing approach would be better.
You want to delete the profile:
a)When you stop using Firefox and don't want to leave stuff floating around.
b)The profile is screwed up, In this case, there is no point to try target every deletion. But if you want to do targeted deletion then options to save Bookmarks and passwords should be enough.

I would like to see something like this:

--Mozilla Firefox Uninstaller-------------------
|                                              | 
| |-Profile Deletion-------------------------| |   
| |                                          | |  
| | Profile contains following information:  | |
| | Bookmarks, History, Form Information,    | |
| | Passwords, Cookies, Cache, Extensions,   | |
| | Themes and Preferences.                  | |
| |                                          | |
| |  Make sure that you have backed up       | |
| |  any information you wish to retain      | |       
| |  before you delete profile!              | |  
| |                                          | |
| |  Available Profiles       Last Accessed  | |
| | |--------------------------------------| | |
| | |Administrator/Profile#1  Date         | | |
| | |WinUser1/Profile#1       Date         | | |
| | |winUser1/Profile#2       Date         | | |  
| | |                                      | | |
| | |--------------------------------------| | | 
| |                                          | |
| |                                 [Delete] | | 
| |                                          | |
| |------------------------------------------| |
|                                              |
|                                       [Next] |
-----------------------------------------------|

---------------------------------------------------------------------
| Are you sure you want completely delete selected Firefox Profiles |
| (Bookmarks, History, Form Information, Passwords,                 |  
| ,Cookies Cache, Extensions, Themes ,Preferences)                  |
|                        [Yes] [No]                                 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------
*** Bug 323825 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 323788 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
*** Bug 323893 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
Had a quick look through this and a few key questions aren't answered here. Should this option remove all profiles or just the current? And what about other users on the system, quite often the user uninstalling firefox may well not be able to access their profiles making it impossible to remove them.
*** Bug 329096 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
I've been thinking about this and I don't think it's a good idea. The installer didn't create the profile, so the uninstaller shouldn't remove it. Besides which removing the current user's profile(s) means that the activity of the uninstaller is non-determinite. WONTFIX.
Status: NEW → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 11 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX

Comment 29

11 years ago
Adding a checkbox (that's off by default) to the uninstaller that deletes the profiles directory can't possibly be a huge development job, yet would solve so many support issues. So many people get issues with Firefox and the first thing they try or are even told to do is uninstall / reinstall, yet the vast majority of cases this solves nothing because the issue is in the profile, and it's a pain for anyone to figure out where the profile is and delete it. I don't see why this would be not implemented on technical reasons.

Comment 30

11 years ago
(In reply to comment #29)
> Adding a checkbox (that's off by default) to the uninstaller that deletes the
> profiles directory can't possibly be a huge development job, yet would solve so
> many support issues. So many people get issues with Firefox and the first thing
> they try or are even told to do is uninstall / reinstall, yet the vast majority
> of cases this solves nothing because the issue is in the profile, and it's a
> pain for anyone to figure out where the profile is and delete it. I don't see
> why this would be not implemented on technical reasons.
> 
I have suggested in the past that there should be a profile verifying utility to make sure everything is proper. Whether this utility be part of the program or a standalone item is up for question. There is no doubt that profile corruption is an issue, and not many can answer the question of what a proper profile should look like.

Updated

11 years ago
Blocks: 330884

Comment 31

11 years ago
*** Bug 330884 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***
No longer blocks: 330884

Comment 32

11 years ago
How can this bug be blocking Firefox 2 and WONTFIX?

(In reply to comment #28)
> I've been thinking about this and I don't think it's a good idea. The installer
> didn't create the profile, so the uninstaller shouldn't remove it. Besides
> which removing the current user's profile(s) means that the activity of the
> uninstaller is non-determinite. WONTFIX.

"non-determinite"? Sure the installer didn't create the profile. Sure there could be more than one profile. Sure they could be in diverse locations. Sure there could be profiles under other user accounts.

But, as I've already said in bug 258301 comment #12: we should give the user the option to do a clean uninstallation. Leaving about 50 MB of cached data behind isn't really nice (what if every application did this)?

Of course this shouldn't happen per default, but what are you going to suggest to a user wanting a CLEAN reinstallation? To find a folder which is per default nicely hidden by Windows Explorer and delete that folder by hand? [annoyed] What again do we have an uninstaller for? [/annoyed]

I kindly ask to discuss this issue in the newsgroups before WONTFIXING this bug again.
Status: RESOLVED → REOPENED
Resolution: WONTFIX → ---
Feel free to open a thread on mozilla.dev.apps.firefox. I am willing to spend time listening to arguments there, though I haven't seen anything yet that overrides my concerns for a determinite installer, as well as providing a checkbox that users might click thinking it does something it doesn't do.

The uninstaller is primarily there to uninstall the application. It is not there to uninstall user data. For the moment I will stick by my module-owner decision. Please do not reopen this bug.
Status: REOPENED → RESOLVED
Last Resolved: 11 years ago11 years ago
Resolution: --- → WONTFIX
> Leaving about 50 MB of cached data behind isn't really nice 
> (what if every application did this)?

In Windows, most applications do leave any personal data behind on uninstall.  Microsoft Office, for instance, does.  In fact, I cannot think of a single major Windows application that on uninstall goes through and cleans all that out.  It wouldn't even be (directly) possible to do so if some users had used the "make my files private" checkbox.

On Unix, there is no single uninstall paradigm across different distributions, but for those with which I'm familiar (rpm, ports and packages, deb, portage), it is not normal for any user data or even configuration data (in /etc) to be removed when the application is uninstalled.  The general thinking is that if you ever install again the users will want such things.

In summary, it is NOT normal for application uninstallers to remove personal data from user accounts.

Cleaning out just the profile of the _current_ user (the one doing the uninstall) would only make sense on systems where the user normally runs things like web browsers all the time with the same privileges required to do the uninstall, cheifly, Win95/98/Me.  (Okay, some users on *nix and many on WinXP run as root/admin all the time (I do so myself at home), but this is *widely* disrecommended, for good reasons, and Firefox should not actively encourage it.)  Those systems have all entered (or gone past) the twilight of Extended Support, so it seems silly to do something just for them now.

For the uninstaller, I don't think it makes sense to do any more than _perhaps_ include a paragraph someplace, explaining that users might still have profile data in their accounts.

However, as far as the Firefox user support issue, Firefox *should* provide an easy way for the current user to delete the current user's own profiles, and it *should* be accessible when Firefox is started with the -safe-mode switch, as well as when it's started normally.  I would suggest opening a separate bug for that, and referencing the number here, because I don't think it belongs in the uninstaller component.

Comment 35

11 years ago
The fact is, she is 100% correct, after reading the article I went to my Windows 2000 Pro machine and went to tools > Options > Passwords > View Saved Passwords > Passwords Never Saved and there were a list of sites that I did not want passwords saved for. I then chose Clear Private Data and went back into the password manager. The list was still there. Lastly, I created a new user account, went into Password manager; guess what…the list was still there. Not only is the list not cleared with private data, it is also shared between user accounts on the same machine.

Comment 36

11 years ago
A better proposition would probably be this:

1. Uninstall application; profile remains.
2. Reinstall application.
3. First run for each user: application detects existing profile(s); gives user option of using the old profile or starting fresh.

Probably should open a new bug for this one (or find one that already exists).

Comment 37

11 years ago
(In reply to comment #36)
> A better proposition would probably be this:
> 
> 1. Uninstall application; profile remains.
> 2. Reinstall application.
> 3. First run for each user: application detects existing profile(s); gives user
> option of using the old profile or starting fresh.
> 
> Probably should open a new bug for this one (or find one that already exists).
> 


Don't forget that when first installing, it creates the profile FOR YOU!

Comment 38

11 years ago
I think this is not an uninstaller problem, but not an installer problem either (see bug #264209).

I think Firefox/Mozilla should simply check the profile when started and detect if the last time that profile was used it was with an older browser version, in which case the end-user should be provided with these options:

1: remove the old profile and create a brand new one, or
2: backup (copy?) the old profile and try to use it with the new version

Updated

11 years ago
Flags: blocking-firefox2+

Comment 39

11 years ago
How and why did this one go from blocking 2.0 to a wont fix? 

Comment 40

11 years ago
*** Bug 351904 has been marked as a duplicate of this bug. ***

Comment 41

11 years ago
(In reply to comment #39)
> How and why did this one go from blocking 2.0 to a wont fix? 

https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_activity.cgi?id=234680
View Bug Activity: comment 28 and comment 33

Comment 42

10 years ago
comment 28 says it doesn't create the profile for you...


It doesn't?
^^ I believe the app creates a profile on first run, if one doesn't already exist.

Comment 44

10 years ago
Maybe Mozilla Corporation should make a profile tool for this and other purposes such as profile creation, deletion, confirmation/fixing, etc.

Updated

10 years ago
Keywords: helpwanted

Comment 45

10 years ago
This has actually been FIXED in bug 398434, shouldn't this bug be duped to that one?
Resolution: WONTFIX → DUPLICATE
Duplicate of bug: 398434
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